Plans to ensure that gypsy and traveller pitches operated by Kent County Council continue to be allocated fairly are being proposed in a public consultation launched today (Wednesday, 30 November).
The intention is to update the current policy to make sure that pitches on KCC’s seven sites are allocated in a fair, transparent and consistent way.
The proposed changes will apply only to new applicants, not existing tenants, apart from young people who currently live on one of the sites with a parent or guardian and may wish to apply for their own plot when they reach 18.
The draft policy has been updated with the aim of being clearer and more transparent for applicants and to strengthen due diligence checks made before allocating pitches. The consultation document says these changes are being proposed to make sure we are doing our best to provide well managed, thriving sites which provide a safe environment for residents to live.
The new policy, if approved, will include a clearer list of exclusions to meet KCC’s aim to have well-managed sites and to promote strong and safe communities.
The new policy will not apply to the two sites managed by KCC on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council, or the six sites in the county operated by other borough and district councils.
The consultation launches today and will close on 7 February. A number of drop-in events have been arranged where a member of the Gypsy and Traveller Service team will be on hand to answer questions. These are as follows:
Friday, 6 January, from 1-3pm at New Ash Green Library;
Thursday, 12 January, from 10–11.30am at Aylesham Library;
Thursday, 12 January, from 1-3pm at Canterbury Library;
Thursday, 19 January, from 1-3pm at the Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone; and
Saturday, 28 January, from 10am to 1pm, also at the Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone.
Anyone who needs help to take part in the consultation, has a question or needs paper copies of the consultation material should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03000 421 567.
Full details are contained in the consultation document which can be found here: www.kent.gov.uk/pitchallocationspolicy.
Following the end of the consultation, the responses will be analysed, and a report will be produced, summarising the feedback. This will be used to help finalise the policy and the proposals will be presented to KCC’s Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee in March 2023 before a decision is taken to adopt the policy.